Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
The head of the pilots union at American Airlines warns pilots in a boldly worded letter about the dangers of rejecting the tentative contract members are considering.
The head of the pilots' union is making an emotional pitch to approve a tentative contract with American Airlines, saying rejecting the deal would set pilots on "a path of self-destruction."
Allied Pilots Association president Keith Wilson said Tuesday that the contract would eventually boost pay to industry standards.
The letter had strong words for opponents to the deal.
"I want to make clear that this is not a fantasy game of 'Dungeons and Dragons' or 'Call of Duty,'" Wilson wrote in the lengthy and impassioned letter. "We are not on a fictional crusade to slay a mythical drago or gun down the opposition. This is not a remake of 'Braveheart.'"
Wilson said some opponents of the contract are intent on punishing airline management and not helping American emerge from bankruptcy protection as a successful company. He said that "a relatively small group of former APA officers and committee members ... have decided that their political agenda is more important" than the needs of pilots.
"... They adhere to what I would refer to as the 'Doctor Strangelove theory of mutual assured destruction:' Just strap on the nuke, ride it down to the target and simply wait for the mushroom cloud," Wilson wrote.
"I don't think it's a sign of desperation," airline industry analyst Denny Kelly said. "I think it's a sign of exasperation. I mean, the guy's going, they're going, 'Look what we've done for you guys. Let's pass it. I mean, come on.'"
Voting ends Dec. 7. In August pilots rejected another offer from American by a 61-to-39-percent margin. American responded by cutting pay and benefits.
American, owned by AMR Corp., is trying to use the bankruptcy process to cut annual labor costs by about $1 billion.
NBC 5's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.